He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; ... Malachi last verse
Thousands of Christians visit Israel every year; 7000 for the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles alone (in 2007). Most of us are not sent by God for a specific purpose, but with a desire to see Israel and, maybe, touch Israelis in love (Comfort ye my people).
It is not possible to go and look at the sites without impacting Israel, the land and the people, in some way; whether for good or bad. Hopefully, these thoughts and observations will help you to impact Israel positively for the kingdom of God.
Pastor Leo Giovanetti remarked,
“When we’re on the bus and we’re touring the land of Israel and we’re eating our gum and throwing the papers on the floor and everything. And we’re getting off the bus and we’ve witnessed to the bus driver and we can’t seem to understand why he won’t fall to his knees and accept Jesus. He has to clean up after your mess every day and that’s a bigger witness than anything you could ever say“
Just think how quickly you could undo all the positive witness made by your tour group if you lose your temper with tour guides, hotel staff, airport staff or other Israelis. Would Jesus speak to these people in the way you do?
We need to approach Israelis with respect and humility. Have you thought of yourself as an ambassador or emissary from Yeshua the Messiah to his own people?
If you go in for singing on your tour bus, have you given any thought to your choice of songs? Will you just sound like a bunch of crazy religious freaks to your guide and driver? Will your songs sound like the triumphalist songs of the "Christian" Crusaders who burned Jews alive in their synagogues in the "Holy Land"? Or will they be able to join in and even be made curious? We do worship the same God, after all! Why not learn Hebrew songs?
The Jewish way of learning is through questions and discussion. If you are willing to learn in this way, not only will you learn so much about the roots of our Christian faith, but you will be much more likely to gently witness to the reality of our relationship with our saviour; Yeshua from Nazareth.
Remember; There is no reason to expect Jews to jump at the chance to desert all their religious heritage, for which they have suffered nearly two millennia of persecution, in order to join the Christian Church that was the reason for so much of their suffering.
The reasons why Jewish people will not be in any hurry to respond to your Christian gospel appeal are many and varied.
( Why so hard ? )
If you wish to understand the problems and the passion of God's heart for reaching His people, "IDENTITY THEFT" by Ron Cantor can not be reccommended highly enough.
He takes the unusual vehicle of a novel to convey deep spiritual truths that would otherwise take many volumes of dry non-fiction.
The reasons can be found, here on wildolive, but Ron Cantor has made them amazingly readable, accessible and powerful.
The book is subtitled, "One Jewish Man's Search for the Truth and the Battle to Keep Him from Finding It"
Follow his journey through spiritual realms to find the truth.
Malcolm Hedding, director of ICEJ summed up the ministry of ICEJ as "removing the stumbling blocks" that Christians and the church have placed in the way of Jews over the centuries. Heavy handed attempts to tell Jews we have never met before that they need Jesus, will sound awfully like all the attempts at forced conversion that they have had to endure over the centuries. It is no good witnessing at Jews and getting angry that they do not respond; God has this matter in hand. (See Until...) We have God’s promise that all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11), but that will be in the context of Jewish acceptance and realisation that Yeshua from Nazareth is alive and is their Messiah.
One Christian friend who approaches Jews humbly seeking to learn from them got into conversation with a Jewish man who had taken him to also be Jewish. When our friend explained his love for Israel as our roots, the man was reduced to tears and said, “We have had two thousand years to get used to the fact that you hate us but when you love us it breaks us inside.”
Mission in Israel is different from anywhere else; The Jews had God long before we did, and the Gospel went out from "Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the earth"; it did not spread out from England (or wherever you come from)
In another way mission in Israel is the same as anywhere else; we can’t "save" Jews by arguing them into believing – "only an encounter with the Holy Spirit can do this" (as Patrick Sukhdeo said concerning Muslims)
All that has to be done is for the Jewish people to be allowed see their own Messiah.
See History, Anti-Semitism and Holocaust to see the baggage that Christians have created to hinder the Jews from accepting our Jesus as their Messiah. Our history is a catalogue of persecution – Blood Libels, Expulsions, Crusades (under the sign of the cross), Pogroms, the Holocaust, Intifadas. "Hey, why include the Intifasdas?" Because “Christians” and the World Council of Churches are taking sides with those seeking to blacken, terrorise and ultimately destroy Israel. Check out Christian Aid etc.
Had you ever considered the way churches have been claiming their own bits of Israel and squatting on territory that God gave to Israel?
How do the Israelis see the unseemly squabbling that goes on in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?
Perhaps your best approach to Israel / the Jews would be to start off with repentance
We need to remind ourselves of the fact that Paul needed to write his letter to the Romans in order to try and correct the thinking of the Gentile believers, as a wrong attitude to the Jews was already becoming apparent. (Sadly, the heart of his message has been so neglected) If we read Romans properly we would not be mystified why the Jews are having trouble seeing redemption through Yeshua / Jesus, and how that is for our benefit in God's purposes. Israel is a special case in God ’s timeline. At the end of the end times, “All Israel will be saved.” And also “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”
So where do the Jews fit in to God’s purposes? This is the wrong question. We should be asking where we fit in. We have been grafted into God's olive tree.
We need to repent for the walls we have erected, for making Jesus into a Greek deity; a foreign god, instead of revealing him as Yeshua, the rabbi from Nazareth, who taught from the Jewish scriptures in the Jewish manner. If only we could escape from our Greek culture and way or thinking, we could understand the Bible so much better; and relate to the Jews much better too!
How did Paul (Sha'ul) hope to save his Jewish brothers? He hoped to provoke them to jealousy (not envy). Look at yourself through the eyes of the Israelis and ask yourself if there is something about you that they might see and be jealous of.
We have noticed how Jews respond to unconditional love, as opposed to “you need Jesus” preaching. They love to be around Holy Spirit happenings and are often willing to be prayed for in the name of Jesus/Yeshua. They just don’t need to be pushed into a corner. Don't preach at your tour guide, watch him, listen to him and learn from him. You will be amazed.
Jews are the best people to show Yeshua to other Jews as they understand each other and can discuss scripture in the Jewish way. This is happening, if only we can accept it and run with it, as the messianic fellowships are growing rapidly (and Arabs are coming to faith too). If we can just be part of the process of removing stumbling blocks, the Messianic Jews can reap the harvest.
If you have a heart of love for Israel and Israelis but have no way of demonstrating it, what can you do?
How about if Israelis come to you?
This may be what you need. - Hosting Israeli Tourists
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